Our Ethos and Curriculum
All schools, including Free Schools such as Sparkwell, are required to have a broad and balanced curriculum which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. We believe that our curriculum is a distinctive feature of our school that develops creativity, imagination and skills for lifelong learning.
Click here to see our vision, aims and values. This was developed with parents, staff and governors in 2016.
For pupils in the Foundation Stage, we are required to follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
While free schools are not required to follow the National Curriculum they are required to ensure their curriculum includes: English, maths and science, Religious Education and sex and relationship education at an age-appropriate level. In light of the curriculum freedoms we receive as a free school, at Sparkwell we are planning and delivering creative learning, within the framework offered by the National Curriculum. The children’s learning is embedded within a class project, following a 'REAL' curriculum that is Rigorous, Engaging, Authentic Learning.
We have links to the local community, e.g. a half-termly visit to Dartmoor Zoo and the local church. Some key features of our curriculum are:
- Weekly Forest School activities in the local Tin Woods led by Forest School trained practitioners
- Regular visitors including artists and musicians
- Visits out, e.g. Crownhill Fort, Plymouth Aquarium, local beaches and Dartmoor
- Modern IT resources including iPads and Chromebooks
- Key values to teach skills for life including responsibility and care for others
- We value the Arts and have an Artsmark Award (2019) for our commitment to offering music, art, drama and dance
- Helping children understand environmental issues, we have a Green Flag, the highest Eco Schools award
Children are encouraged to make links between subjects, developing knowledge, skills and positive attitudes to learning in a range of contexts. We actively teach children how to learn and to develop their confidence, capability and passion. Our children in KS2 are taught about 'Growth Mindset' and we encourage Learning Challenges to give children an opportunity to apply their learning at a deeper level.
Find out more about Forest School on our Forest School tab.
Our Curriculum statement and Teaching For Learning Policy can be found on the School Policies page.
We base our phonics teaching on the Read, Write Inc scheme and also use the RWI spelling programme from Years 2 to 4. We use a wide variety of reading schemes including Oxford Reading Tree and Rigby Star.
Staff have worked together to develop a set of 'non-negotiables' that must be covered in each year group. Click on a year group below to see this information and what will be taught in each year. Please note that our projects change termly to meet the class interests and needs and are not repeated, so there is no overview list of these.